pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Right Now

Reading: Matthew 4:18-23

Verses 21-22: “Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat… and followed him.”

“Hurry up and wait.” Ever heard that expression? It usually comes when the last thing we want to do is wait. Now, that is most of the time, right? In general, we are not patient. Our culture teaches us the “right now” attitude. Yet when I think of Jesus’ life and ministry he was never in a rush. He took his time – often too much for those around him. He always had time for the one he encountered. Maybe this is partly why he calls Andrew and Simon, James and John. They too worked at an occupation that required and developed patience.

In our story today, though, when Jesus calls them to “Come, follow me,” they are anything but patient. Both pairs of brothers followed Jesus “immediately.” Do you ever wonder why? Yes, there must’ve been something about Jesus that led them to this radical decision – an aura, a charisma, a divinity? And maybe there’s another reason. Like all other Jews they’ve been waiting hundreds and hundreds of years for the promised Messiah. Jump at the chance that this might be the one!

And then there’s maybe this other, more practical reason. Today, in my life, when the Spirit of Christ invites me to action, be it in word or deed, I’ve found that a delayed response usually becomes a non-response. The “I’ll do that later, tomorrow…” never happens. Maybe a “right now” attitude is what’s needed. It mirrors Jesus’ approach: the person before me matters right now. Let ministry begin! May it be so.

Prayer: Lord God, create in me a spirit of “yes!” Pre-dispose me to action. Ready my hands and feet for whatever or whomever you place in my life. Amen.


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Calling, Waiting, Redeeming

Reading: Hosea 1:10

The Israelites of Hosea’s day have broken the covenant relationship they once had with God.  Their choices have led them far from God.  Like any parent, He is surely disappointed and maybe even a little mad, but the love for them is as strong as ever.  As parents we too have been in this situation with our own children, loving them in spite of their actions, words, or behaviors.  And like our heavenly Father, we long for them to repent of their poor choices and to return to the ways they were taught.  We so long for this because this is where our relationship is at its best, both for us and for our children.  God is no different.

With the Israelites and with us today, God continues to ever call us back into a right relationship with Him.  His promise to them is to make them a mighty nation – as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore.  His promise to us is somehow more personal.  God’s promises to love us, to care for us, to watch over us, to bless us all still remain.  As His children, we are still God’s covenant people.  Yet through Jesus the relationship became more personal and intimate.  We can relate to Jesus’ human nature as a friend yet His divine nature is also present, revealing His power and majesty.  Through His resurrection Jesus imparts the Holy Spirit, a living presence of Jesus that comes to dwell in us once we accept Him as Lord and Savior.

It is through the voice and movement of the Holy Spirit that God continues to call us, His children, back to Him over and over again.  No matter what our choices, God still seeks to keep us in a righteous relationship with Him.  When we stumble, He calls out.  When we sin, He redeems.  When we wander away, He waits patiently, continuing to seek us out.  For God’s amazing and wonderful far-reaching, never-ending, life-changing love, we are ever grateful.  For all of His love, mercy, and grace we say thanks be to God.


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Do we wait well?

Waiting can be hard.  Christmas is a season that builds anticipation well.  Once the tree goes up in our homes, we know the day is near.  If you use an Advent calendar, you really count down the days.  For some, simply looking at the presents under the tree is almost more than they can take – they want to peek!  No matter when we start our count – November 7, December 1… – we start out knowing that December 25 is a fixed date.  For the secular world, it is all over on December 25.

In Advent the focus is on the same date, but for Christians the purpose is different. We await the gift of Christ.  We celebrate Jesus’ birth not in and of itself, but for His whole life’s impact upon us.  It is in His death and resurrection that we gain victory over our own death and we find the strength to fight against the temptations and sins we face daily.

In Advent, our question is: do we wait well? As we ready ourselves for celebrating Christ’s birth, we also have an eye on His actual return.  That date is unknown.  Yet it is surely coming, one day closed today than it was yesterday.  As we wait, do we share our joy with others?  Do we share our hope?  Do we share our peace?  Do we share our love?  Waiting well involves all of these, plus sharing the greatest gft ever given, the reason for all of these other things we share: Jesus Christ, the savior of the world.

Scripture reference: 2 Peter 3: 8-15a


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Waiting Long Enough

Interesting thought in one of my devotionals this morning: what would an encounter with Jesus at the water cooler in the break room look like?  It is a pretty cool twist to put ourselves in a modern version of the Samaritan woman from Sychar meeting Jesus at Jacob’s well.  I may not have 5 wives and a current live-in, but Jesus would certainly have plenty of other sins to pick from!  JC: “John, what about that control that you like to keep such a tight grasp upon?  Or what about how you like to judge so-and-so?  Or …”  Would you, like me, be begging for Him to stop?  Would I be more astonished that He knew all these things or more embarrassed that He did?  Would I stick around or “remember” another meeting that I had to get to?

I really admire the woman at the well for sticking it out.  In her culture a Jew did not talk to a Samaritan, especially to a woman.  But here a man she does not know is talking to her.  And He is telling her things about her life that He shouldn’t know.  Being a woman who has had five husbands and is now living with a boyfriend, she must have been used to begin looked down upon.  But she must have sensed that Jesus had something more to offer than an insight or two into her life.  She digs in and connects with Jesus.  She leaves this encounter wanting to bring everyone she knows to meet this Jesus.

Today in our little daily routines, will we encounter the living God?  He will certainly be there.  The question is: will we be willing enough to stick around long enough to meet Jesus?  Will we be aware enough to see the potential of the situation? Will we be resolute enough to drink of the living water that He offers?  Will we wait long enough to be filled so much that we go forth seeking to share what we have just found?  Today, may we wait long enough to encounter Chrst in those we meet!